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Ensuring Access to Lifesaving Technologies During the Pandemic

Image of Covid-19
Photo Credit: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Image Library
Apr 7 2020

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Announcements

Stanford, Harvard, and MIT commit to COVID-19 technology licensing principles, maximizing access to university innovations

April 7, 2020 - Stanford University, Harvard University, and Massachusetts Institute of Technology have established and committed to a set of technology licensing principles that will incentivize and allow for the most broad and equitable access to university innovations during the global COVID-19 pandemic.

The joint “COVID-19 Technology Access Framework” sets a model by which critically important technologies that may help prevent, diagnose, or treat COVID-19 infections may be deployed for the greatest public benefit without delay.

In particular, the Framework’s guidelines provide for non-exclusive, royalty-free licensing of intellectual property rights for most types of technologies during the pandemic and for a short period afterward. Licensees commercializing these urgently needed innovations will be required to distribute the resulting products as widely as possible and at a low cost that allows broad accessibility.

“The mandate of Stanford’s OTL has always been to transfer technologies for societal benefit,” said Karin Immergluck, Executive Director of Stanford’s Office of Technology Licensing (OTL). “In the face of the global COVID-19 pandemic, we need to collaborate with companies and non-profits with particular urgency to ensure expeditious transfer of our innovative technologies into the hands of those who will make and distribute the healthcare products critical for public health. The COVID-19 Technology Access Framework formalizes a commitment from Stanford, along with our colleagues at Harvard and MIT, to maximize access to these essential technologies in a manner that serves the greatest public good. We look forward to working with the Stanford community and beyond to fulfill our commitment.”

The institutions’ commitments are formally defined by the statement that follows:

COVID-19 Technology Access Framework

We strongly believe that while intellectual property rights can often serve to incentivize the creation of new products, such rights should not become a barrier to addressing widespread, urgent and essential health-related needs. To address the global COVID-19 pandemic, we are each implementing technology transfer strategies to allow for and incentivize rapid utilization of our available technologies that may be useful for preventing, diagnosing and treating COVID-19 infection during the pandemic. To achieve our common goal, we each individually commit to the following guidelines:


1. We are committed to implementing COVID-19 patenting and licensing strategies that are consistent with our goal of facilitating rapid global access. For most types of technologies, this includes the use of rapidly executable non-exclusive royalty-free licenses to intellectual property rights that we have the right to license, for the purpose of making and distributing products to prevent, diagnose and treat COVID-19 infection during the pandemic and for a short period thereafter.  In return for these royalty-free licenses, we are asking the licensees for a commitment to distribute the resulting products as widely as possible and at a low cost that allows broad accessibility during the term of the license.

2. We are committed to making vigorous efforts to achieve alignment among all stakeholders in our intellectual property, including research sponsors, to facilitate broad and rapid access to technologies that have been requested to address the COVID-19 pandemic.

3. We are committed to making any technology transfer transactions related to addressing the COVID-19 pandemic our first priority, and to minimizing any associated administrative burdens.


The initial signatories* include:

Stanford University
Harvard University
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

*If your institution would like to adopt the COVID-19 Technology Access Framework, please make a public announcement to your community regarding your endorsement, re-post the framework in its entirety, and contact Ying-Li.Chen@Stanford.edu to request you be added to the list of signatories.